About a two-hour drive south west of Johannesburg, if you don’t get lost that is, you will find Venterskroon Inn. It’s a bar and grill in the middle of nowhere run by Pearie Ujdur and his partner, Leon Lindeque.
Finding Venterskroon Inn
“Nowhere” is a little untrue. It’s located in the heart of a World Heritage Site. Two billion years ago the largest meteor to ever hit the earth landed here and changed the landscape of the area forever. It’s known as the Vredefort Dome.
Venterskroon Inn is located on the border of the North-West Province of South Africa and the Free State in a predominantly Afrikaans-speaking area halfway between Potchefstroom and Parys. It’s about 10km off the R53 highway between the two centres on a well-travelled gravel road. It’s definitely off the beaten track, but well worth the effort once you get there.
The town of Venterskroon consists of only a few buildings; a museum, a hotel, a few houses and the Venterskroon Inn. Leon jokes that he is now the mayor of the town.
The Inn has picturesque views whichever way you look.
Venterskroon Inn is surrounded by mountains. A hike to the Vaal River, just 500 m away, provides opportunities for fishing, tubing or river rafting. There is also zip-lining nearby and for the more adventurous people there are 4×4 Trails. The museum, which has all the information you need to know about the meteor, is only a two-minute walk away too.
The Venterskroon Inn is a haven for locals from both Potchefstroom, Parys and places in between. It has a quaint bar which serves beer, wine and spirits as well as meals. What meals are on offer depends on what’s in the freezer on any given day.
Many regulars stop in on their way home from work for a pint or sometimes during work for a bite to eat. Pearie and Leon, who have owned the Inn for about four years, have created a very homey atmosphere.
Dining at Venterskroon Inn
The Inn has a huge enclosed-back garden which must be a couple of acres. A couple of miniature horses roam around the garden, a mother and son named Hingsie and Vroulief, inherited from the previous owners.
There are many tables and seats for what is the main draw at the Inn, Sunday Lunch. Every Sunday, Pearie prepares a different menu for guests. For about $15, you can get a three-course meal which he prepares himself. Because of the Inn’s popularity in the area that Pearie regularly feeds up to sixty people on any given Sunday.
After lunch, you can even enjoy a swim in the pool. Popping into the Inn is a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The Inn is a great escape from Johannesburg for the weekend for people who want to get away from it all. The rooms rent for about $25. At the moment, the Inn hosts up to eight people in four en-suite rooms, but that number will increase to 32 after the guesthouse next door is renovated.
From Venterskroon Inn it’s just a twenty minute drive to Potchefstroom, a university town. It is and the same distance to Parys, an artsy town with some fancy eateries and antique shops. There are plenty of things to do in both locations and both are worth a visit.
Pearie and Leon are the perfect hosts. Pearie said that Leon will never turn anyone away who wants a drink at any time of day or night which, he said with a chuckle, makes closing sometimes a little hard with people staying very late into the night.
For a glimpse into what life is like near a two billion year old meteor site, the Venterskroon Inn is a must. Just tell them James the Canadian sent you.
You can contact Pearie and Leon on their Facebook page or call +27 18 291 1000